Tony Matelli, Sleepwalker, 2014

Presented by Maruani Mercier


About the work

We usually experience public art as either monuments or corporate trophies. I wanted to make something that would undermine monumentalism and resist any possible corporate identity.  

Rather than memorializing masculine accomplishment I want Sleepwalker to function as a kind of empathy magnet. It is interesting to me to have someone connect with a sculpture in that way, to have someone see their own condition within the condition of a sculpture. Sleepwalker represents a duality I think we all sometimes feel: being present but absent at the same time, being literally a misfit and out of place. In this regard the sculpture represents conflict. It represents a man in crisis. 

Tony Matelli

Audio guide


About the artist

Tony Matelli (b. 1971, Chicago) is a New York-based sculptor known for his painstakingly detailed, resemblant sculptures. Concerned with how we define ourselves as human beings, what constitutes meaningful relationships and the transience of life, Matelli chronicles these ideas through a playful lens whilst pushing the boundaries of his medium. The result is a subversive dialogue that deepens the conversation surrounding the possibilities of sculpture.   

Incorporating figurative, botanical and abstract forms, his bronze sculptures rely on unusual juxtapositions such as his ‘Weeds’ series in which plants sprout from the space between gallery walls and floors. Across his oeuvre, and particularly in his mirror paintings, Matelli discards traditional genre categories in favour of experiential concerns.   

His work has been extensively exhibited in notable institutions including the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Uppsala Museum, Sweden; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; The Davis Museum, Wellesley, MA; Kunsthalle, Vienna; and Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway. His sculpture Sleepwalker is one his most iconic works and has been prominently featured at The High Line in New York and the campus of Wellesley College in Massachusetts.   

For more information, please visit the gallery website: Maruani Mercier

explore frieze sculpture


Early bird tickets to the fairs are now sold out. Limited full-price tickets have just been released. Don't miss out, book yours now.